Upstate Update - Spring 2007
Listen Now: MP3 This issue of Upstate Update is available in MP3 audio format. The audio file is 9.5 MB in size, and about nine-and-a-half minutes in length.
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In this issue:
- Online Catalog Now Available
- Patty Doran
- Audio Driver’s Manual from DMV
- Check the Machine for the Last Tape
- Service at a Temporary Address
- "Shared Masters" Project Shortens Production of Bestselling Titles
- Own the New Harry Potter in Braille
We are pleased to announce that we now offer an Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC). This makes our catalog available to outside users, and you can now search for braille and cassette books in our collection yourself, just by logging into our catalog over the Internet.
You can view additional information about each book in the list of results, including author, title, book number, narrator, publication date, reading level, a short description of the contents, and how many copies are currently available.
There are two levels of searching. Use "Basic Search" when you know the author’s name and / or the title of the book, and use "Advanced Search" when you want to search by something else, or when the basic method is returning too many results and you need to narrow your search. In the advanced search you can search by author, title, narrator, and keywords in titles and descriptions. In addition, you can limit the search by format (braille or cassette), grade level, and language.
Once you have completed a search you can place a checkmark against any of the books in the results list that you want to read and submit them to the library to be automatically added to your request list, just as you have done (and still may do) by mail, e-mail, and telephone.
Please note that while anyone can access the OPAC and search it, you must be a registered library user to submit requests. And to do this, you must first contact us to set up your user ID and password.
Note that at present the OPAC only allows you to add books to your request list. You cannot have your book orders actually sent to you by this means. You should contact us in the usual way if you want us to issue immediately any of the books you find on the OPAC. Books added to your list will be sent on a random one-for-one basis as you return books to the library.
To access the OPAC, go to our website (www.nysl.nysed.gov/tbbl) and then click on the "Catalog TBBL Books" link on the main page. Help screens are available to guide you through the search techniques, but please contact us at (800) 342-3688 if you need more help.
Over the last three months, many of you have telephoned the library and asked to speak with Patty Doran. On these occasions it’s been our sad task to tell you that Patty died on February 7 after a brief illness. By means of our newsletter we would like to let you all know this sad news.
Handling your calls was just one of Patty’s many responsibilities, and it’s certainly no surprise that so many of you wanted to speak to Patty personally, for it was clear that giving you the best service was her daily priority. Patty took those extra steps necessary to ensure that every borrower she spoke with got what they needed.
Patty was with the library for exactly ten years, having started on February 6, 1997. The last few weeks have certainly been a very distressing time for us, looking at Patty’s empty chair, trying to do her work, and telling so many of you that Patty is no longer with us. We all miss her positive attitude, dedication, and quick wit, and we know that she will be deeply missed and warmly remembered by a great many library friends and borrowers.
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has now made its popular NYS Driver’s Manual available in MP3 audio format in English and Spanish (Manual de Conducir). Go to the DMV’s website at www.nydmv.state.ny.us and follow the Audio Driver’s Manual link. Note that to listen to this you must have audio software capable of playing MP3 files.
Before returning a book, please make sure that you have replaced all the cassettes in the mailing container. The label on the container tells you how many cassettes should be there, e.g. 2C, 3C 4C.
This checking includes a look in your cassette player. Lately we have been hearing from quite a few borrowers who confess to having mailed a book back leaving the last cassette in the machine. Please be aware that the now incomplete book must be discarded on its return, so we ask you to be careful.
When you get service at a temporary address, please note that we can provide service at this address only for the books you receive. It is not practical to change the address for the magazines and catalogs that you get. These publications do not come from us, and all changes must be sent to a central mail facility in Florida. It simply takes too long for the address change to take effect, and if we did this, by the time it was changed we’d be changing it back to your regular address.
If you made arrangements with the post office, or a friend, relative, or neighbor, to forward your mail, your magazines and "Talking Book Topics" or "Braille Book Review" will come to you that way too.
You may have noticed that there are some new books that don’t sound quite the same these days. These books are part of the "shared masters" project that the National Library Service (NLS) has been involved with for more than two years.
In this project, NLS is adapting some commercial audio books for this program, thereby saving time and money. Random House, Books on Tape, Time Warner, and other publishers understand the profit to be made from audio books among the sighted population, and now they often arrange it so that the book is recorded in advance so that an audio version of a book can appear simultaneously with the publication of the printed book.
NLS has arranged to obtain advanced recordings of some books, usually bestsellers, which are then adapted to NLS requirements, such as changing the commercial speed, making it four-track, and adding side announcements. Normally, NLS has to wait for the print book to be published and only then set about having it recorded. This sort of shortcut means that the NLS audio book can be available very shortly after the publication date of the print book. This cuts back the waiting time for a book by at least six months. In addition to the big bonus of greater production speed, NLS says that making their version of a commercial audio book saves 20 to 30 percent of the cost of producing it as a regular NLS book.
Disadvantages to this method of production include possible quality control issues, and the fact that many commercial books may have such things as sound effects and "jingles" that separate chapters, something normally not found in NLS books. Not having access to the print book means that it’s hard for NLS staff to do a thorough job of writing an accurate annotation, as is checking for content to note such as things as sexual description and strong language. NLS will also not use shared masters for books in series, where borrowers expect the same narrator to be used throughout the series.
NLS has got mixed reviews of this innovation, but on the positive side many library users are now accustomed to commercial audio books from their public library, and thus take to these books better. Even borrowers who aren’t keen on these books find that getting the audio books so much faster is such a benefit that they are willing to deal with the less familiar configuration in favor of timeliness.
Since the start of 2005, NLS has selected around 300 titles as shared masters, about 7 percent of all audio selections. The project is still under evaluation, though getting books cheaper and quicker are pluses that are hard to disregard.
If you want to buy your own braille edition of J.K. Rowling’s latest book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, you might want to contact the National Braille Press (NBP) and place your order.
NBP is now offering the book at the discounted price of $18.89. After the publication date, July 21, the price will be $34.99. Through a special arrangement with the publisher, NBP’s braille edition will be available on the same day as the print edition. You can contact the NBP at 88 St. Stephen's Street, Boston, MA 02115, (888) 965-8965, (617) 266-6160. Their website is www.nbp.org.
Mention of a product or service in this newsletter does not constitute endorsement by this library. Our intention is to increase an awareness of programs, services, and products that may be helpful to our patrons.